1711 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
“Today, the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington approved the decision to enter into a purchase agreement for the YMCA National Capital facility, located at 1711 Rhode Island Avenue, NW. As part of the Y’s longtime mission to support families, kids and its community, the nonprofit’s volunteer board and staff leadership are reallocating its limited resources and restructuring operations to meet changing needs and emerging gaps. The Y will continue to have a strong presence in the District, and its primary focus is transitioning its staff, members and services, as well as maintaining community outreach programs.
“This was not an easy decision, but as a nonprofit organization with limited resources, the YMCA must continually evaluate community needs against available resources to strike the right balance in fulfilling our mission,” said Keith Smith, Chair of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. “Our buildings may house us, but they do not define us. We have a tremendous opportunity to grow and broaden our reach, but in order to do so, we have to establish more appropriate and efficient models for service delivery.”
While the YMCA National Capital facility has served the downtown business district for 37 years, the needs of the community require that the Y evolve its approach to a community/ neighborhood-based model where it can serve more children and families. With more than 30 like-service providers within walking distance, membership at the YMCA National Capital has declined from a peak of 11,000 to today’s 3,400. As a result, the facility operates at an increasing financial deficit. The Y has invested more than $1.5 million in capital improvements in the building, but because the investments necessarily addressed inefficiencies of the facility and not aesthetics, they did not spur membership growth. After reviewing several proposals, the YMCA has selected a developer with which to move forward. The facility will close as a YMCA as of December 31, 2015.
“One of our top priorities during this transitional period is providing support and resources to Y staff. We anticipate that many employees, as well as popular programs, will find a home at YMCA Anthony Bowen,” said Angie Reese-Hawkins, President & CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.
The Y will continue to serve the nation’s capital through two program centers in the NE and SE quadrants of the city, numerous satellite locations, and the recently renovated YMCA Anthony Bowen, a state-of-the-art facility with historic roots located 1 mile from YMCA National Capital. Nearly 25% of YMCA National Capital members have already begun using YMCA Anthony Bowen. Community-based programs will continue without interruption, including the YMCA DC Youth & Government Program, STEM programs at schools and community events, mentoring, before and after-school care, summer camp and summer learning programs. In addition, a new DC site will be secured for summer camp in 2016.
The Y plans to utilize the proceeds from the sale of the YMCA National Capital facility to serve more region-wide residents and provide more volunteer and employment opportunities, thus increasing its impact in the region. In addition, proceeds from the sale will allow the Y to contribute to the revitalization of existing region-wide community/ neighborhood-based Ys, reinvest in programs and services that serve families (such as Youth Advocacy, Achievement Gap, Early Child Development and STEM), alleviate existing debt, and contribute to determining the feasibility of establishing another YMCA facility in Washington, DC.
“Our goal is to increase our capacity to serve more people, engage more volunteers and reinvest in communities in the District and beyond,” said Reese-Hawkins. “The YMCA takes great pride in being a vital part of the community for 163 years. To that end, we are actively looking for new sites in the District to open a family-centered YMCA.”